Readers smack back on Web browsers

Computerworld readers responded to our opinionated "Browser Smackdown" with some strong views of their own.

Last week, we presented "Browser Smackdown: Firefox vs. IE vs. Opera vs. Safari," an opinionated look at four of today's top browsers. After reading the four authors' arguments in favor of their chosen browser, we asked readers to vote for the best of the current crop of browsers.

With around 50% of the vote, Firefox 2 is clearly the favorite among Computerworld readers in our admittedly unscientific poll. Safari 2 has a strong following too, capturing nearly 25% of the vote. (You can still vote in the poll, or see the full results.)

We also invited readers to weigh in via e-mail. The biggest hue and cry came from readers who objected to reviewer Preston Gralla's assertion that Internet Explorer leads the market because users like it and see no reason to switch to another browser. You'll find those responses in Readers say IE's market-share numbers depend on how, and what, you count.

But we also received many letters supporting or lambasting the various browsers that our readers have used. Below are some of their comments, which have been edited for grammar and length. Readers' initials have been used when we didn't receive permission to use full names.

Have something to add? Weigh in at our Sound Off blog.

ON THE WINDOWS SIDE

The letters from Windows users echo our poll results, with Firefox being the favorite. One thing is very clear: Internet Explorer 7 is not a big winner with Computerworld readers.

Firefox gives users what they want

Most people don't like major changes. Microsoft reinvents itself every three weeks whether it needs to or not. Just when you get to know how IE works and you are at ease with it, then MS changes everything. Now Firefox (I converted to it about a year ago) seems to be able to give you new features without radically changing everything. This is good -- keep what works and only change what doesn't.

-- Jim Goodman

IE7 forced me to switch

For the first time EVER, I am using something other than IE as my default browser. The MS rendition of the Edsel, a.k.a. IE7, is so poorly done that I was forced to switch. If IE7 is an indication of the upcoming Vista, MS has not shot themselves in the foot, but rather in the head.

-- Richard Wick

I installed IE7 and bad things started happening

I've been using Firefox for a long time and only use IE for those few sites where the developers aren't smart enough to make their stuff work in anything else.

I can't really comment on IE7 since immediately after installation, bad things started happening, and it got much worse after rebooting (Microsoft's solution to everything!). I finally got the computer working well enough to uninstall IE7 and consign it to the graveyard of useless -- actually, dangerous -- crap, where it will forever remain.

-- Larry M. Bryant

Why choose just one browser?

I normally have all three browsers open on my desktop at the same time. My overall favorite is Opera because I always open it with my last session and because I can customize features. I prefer Firefox when I need to open multiple windows because I can open the new window with a keyboard shortcut to avoid using the mouse. Finally, I use IE7 for sites that don't work with either of the two browsers above.

-- Robert Holley

Netscape users: try SeaMonkey

You were correct to dismiss Netscape 7, but you should realize that there is a replacement with the power of Firefox and the integration and look and feel of Netscape: [Mozilla's] SeaMonkey. It is a perfect upgrade for Netscape users and provides the best integration of Internet functions, with the exception of an RSS reader (where IE7 is the best).

-- Dale DePriest

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